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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  Women who speak with men who don't listen
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Wednesday, November 6,2013

Women who speak with men who don't listen

By Cary Bayer  

One of the funniest of the many funny observations made by the brilliant Rob Becker in his hilarious one-man show, Defending the Caveman, is that men tend to speak an average of about 2,000 words per day, while women speak about 7,000. Wow…that’s quite a difference! Some sociologists on the other hand, have suggested that the average man probably speaks about 10,000 words per day, while the average woman has more than lapped him twice, coming in at a whopping 25,000. In other words, the difference, as far as professionals are concerned, is even greater. As you can see, there’s quite a discrepancy there; but most observers are in agreement that women tend to speak much more frequently than men do.

More anecdotally, we recognize that one of the favorite ways for men to bond with each other is by fishing, a sport that’s characterized by long stretches of silence. Women, on the other hand, love sharing emotional insights in the proverbial “kaffeeklatsch” or long walks, both of which are accompanied by long stretches of talking. When men hang out with other men, and when women talk with other women, the experience is usually quite harmonious because the styles of talking vs. silence are similar. Problems arise, of course, when two different speaking styles are involved in other words, when women are talking with men. The reason, of course, is that most women are great at talking, while most men are not comfortable with hearing all that much speech. And, consequently, men have difficult times concentrating, let alone actually listening all that closely.

Women also love to share their feelings, while men love to fix problems.

This is fine, so long as women share their feelings with other women, who love to listen to the feelings of women.

It’s also fine when men can fix the problems of other men. But when men attempt to fix the problems shared by women, many women feel unheard, and can get really frustrated and angry. This confuses many men, who are just following their own natures. They hear a woman complain about a problem, and then instinctively think that any solution that they can come up with will give her exactly what she needs. As most men who have been married for quite some time will tell you, this is a huge error injudgment.

I’m often amused by God’s cosmic sense of humor. It is, after all, in Nature’s plan for men and women to unite sexually (at least) for the species to continue to survive— sperm donations not withstanding. And while gay marriage has clearly risen in significant numbers in recent months, the overwhelming majority of marriages—even in states where gay marriage has now been legalized—are heterosexual. That means that men and women are vowing before God, before parents, before grandmothers, and before friends to honor, cherish, and certainly live and communicate with each other. That means that men and women are going to have to learn how to speak and listen to each other.

If men can learn to listen to the feelings of the close women in their lives without trying to fix any of their problems, these women will be so happy.

If men can take the time to learn how to mirror the communications of women back to them, the exchange can be quite peaceful for the women involved. It’s just a communication skill—in this case, largely one of listening, without trying to fix—that will create peace and harmony with the women in the lives of these men; and, by extension, in theirs, as well. As the saying goes, men, “A happy wife is a happy life.”

 

 

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